notebook computer as gps chart plotter on small boat

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Tim.M, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Tim.M
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 48
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Wisconsin

    Tim.M Junior Member

    Does anyone here use a notebook computer and software as a gps chartplotter on a small recreational boat? The nice big screen chartplotters are thousands of dollars, so I'm wondering if I could connect a gps to a notebook computer. Are notebooks hardy enough? Does pc software exist that is as good as the hardware chartplotters that can be had under $1000?
     
  2. KnottyBuoyz
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 829
    Likes: 55, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 685
    Location: Iroquois, Ontario

    KnottyBuoyz Provocateur & Raconteur

    Yes too all your questions. We've used one for years. Some of the drawbacks are: size, may be too big for your boat; wires, they're everywhere unless yours has a real good battery; screens aren't usually bright enough for daylight use; screens are too bright for night use; cooling, overheating will shut them down.
     
  3. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
    Posts: 2,164
    Likes: 52, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 575
    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Only thing new is little atom notebooks, many running on windows, about$300. They don't have cd roms but with big flash drive you could download charts to them. Also if your staying close to shore, consider Google earth has a nautical chart overlay. You can download area that you are going to be traveling to and then use little gps hookup to tell you location. All for under $500. But if you go far - take 2 gps, and paper charts. I still like paper charts next to me. In a pinch , I don't want to be fiddling with buttons.
     
  4. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 6,823
    Likes: 120, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1882
    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    I have 2 mini-itx form factor (smaller than 2 reams of paper) using this motherboard :- http://www.advantech.net.au/product...ard-with-6-COM-and-Dual-LAN/mod_1-2JKDYC.aspx - - -
    * AMD Turion™ 64 X2 mobile processor-AMD M690E
    * Two 200-pin SODIMMs, 4 GB DDR2 800 SDRAM
    * dual display for HDMI, LVDS
    * 8 serial ports )2 x ps2 & 6 x USB2+
    2 x DVD burners, - - 2 x 500G HDD, - - 2 x 1920x1080 23" diagonal widescreen monitors - easy to adjust brightness and contrast, run Linux OS & mapping software from Germany using data from a garmin 60, also links through HF & VHF as well as plays my music, movies, stores my videos & images.. and prints via a brother printer (my office) and runs on about the same power as a notebook and does not have those highly reflective notebook screens...
     
  5. Chuck Losness
    Joined: Apr 2008
    Posts: 311
    Likes: 37, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 135
    Location: Central CA

    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    I have been using a Dell Inspirion laptop for several years. It sits on my chart table. The nav program is a cmap program that a friend gave me for working on his boat. I really like it. It is simple and easy to use. The charts are very accurate in the USA. It would show me in my slip when I was in San Diego. The charts for mexico are off a little bit but this is true of every nav program including the fancy, expensive chart plotters because they are all based upon the old paper charts. Don't let any slick willy salesman tell you otherwise because he's just blowing smoke.
    I use a Magellan 315 handheld GPS. It connects to the computer and receives external power through a cable that I purchased at Fry's Electronics in San Diego. You also need a serial port to usb adapter for my setup to connect the GPS to the laptop. I power the laptop with a 700 watt xantex inverter.
    The program has different screen settings for day, dusk, twilight and night. At night I mostly use the twilight setting because the night setting is too dark.
    Hope this helps you out.
    Chuck
    S/V Hale Moana
     
  6. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,041
    Likes: 116, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1818
    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    Thanks for the info because i will be doing the same thing very soon

    please tell me what this is

    i have just downloaded Google Earth 5 which is great with many nice new features but i cant seem to find what you are refering to

    i have been up and down the entire menu on the left bottom of the page nl. Primary database and looked at the whole lot eg. weather - ocean etc. but no nautical chart ?
    also tools but still no luck :?:
     
  7. Tim.M
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 48
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Wisconsin

    Tim.M Junior Member

    Thanks all. I'm intrigued by the idea of using google earth - I see it has a realtime gps connect option and I see I can download the noaa charts for free in raster format from http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/ChartServerV2.0/jsp/index.jsp?type=BSB - I don't know how to do anything with these file formats however. I found http://www.csc.noaa.gov/crs/chartreproj.html which will take the bsb .kap file and export it to a tiff which google earth can overlay, but I can only see how to do this one by one. And then it appears I need to enter the coordinate data for each small section individually into google earth.

    Is there a much easier way?
     
  8. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 6,823
    Likes: 120, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1882
    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    Here are some sites for those who would consider Linux for its inherant robustness and NO Virus OS which for non-commercial users is free and downloadable...
    http://tuxmobil.org/linux_gps_navigation_applications.html for resources and links
    http://www.gpsdrive.de/index.shtml My current favourite
    http://www.ncc.up.pt/gpsman/gpsman.html
    http://www.mgix.com/gps3d/?download holds promise but seems to have gone quiet?
    http://www.tegmento.org/gpsylon/ more resources... There is also a thread in boatdesign.net that uses sourceforgenet as a home...
     
  9. Chuck Losness
    Joined: Apr 2008
    Posts: 311
    Likes: 37, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 135
    Location: Central CA

    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    Google earth is a great tool. I use it all the time particularly to check out anchorages that I have not been to. You can look straight down and you can tilt the view so that you get a feel for what you will see as you enter the anchorage. I do not integrate it into my nav program and don't know if I even could. But I have put in way points a couple of times and it gives you an idea of features on land that you might be able to use as range marks and the lay of the land/sea. It is just another tool to use along with all your other navigation tools.
     
  10. Tim.M
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 48
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Wisconsin

    Tim.M Junior Member

    http://demo.geogarage.com/noaa/ has overlaid the noaa charts on google maps, but I don't see any option to get this into google earth.

    http://earthnc.com/online is interesting in showing rocks, buoys, lights, etc. -- but noaa raster depth charts cost $35 per region.

    Are there other cool options out there?
     
  11. Guest62110524

    Guest62110524 Previous Member

    we used nobeltec admiral 7 , way over top for small boat, but voted best nav software years in a row
    I once stood on beach in Turkey with magellan 315, , when I put the position on google earth was 15 miles inland , google earth tells you not to use for navigation
     
  12. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 1,896
    Likes: 71, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 739
    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    I have used all kinds of mixtures of PC's and dedicted equipment, and with the sole limitation that computers are not normally weather proof they are much better than the custom hardware for almost everything.

    I have been using an Apple laptop for years, and currently designing a ystem based around a 24" Imac. Basically the Imac will be running a copy of MacENC (http://www.navsoftware.com/marine-n...hrase=macenc&gclid=CKrq6sSS_JkCFWNM5QodSHYhFw) and I plan on having an ipod touch running INavX which ties into it. This will allow me to run everything from the auto pilot to the chart plotter from the ipod through WiFi. Plus by putting the computer downstairs I can protect it from water by flush mounting it behind a piece of lexan.

    The real advantages though are that since you now have a 24" screen you can dispose of the TV, and still keep all of the functionality of a full fledged desktop. All at a price of around $2K.


    As for the software... I have used all of this stuff, and it is probably the easiest to use piece of nav data around. Plus, since you get the charts for free from NOAA it makes it very easy to keep them updated, even for areas where you don't travel often. Heck if you get a Cellular card and cellular repeater for it you can even get relatively cheap internet within 20 miles of shore for about $100 a month.
     
  13. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 6,823
    Likes: 120, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1882
    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    Stumble, I wish, - - that service following the coastline to 20 miles out - "Only in America" - rest of the world - ??? in SW Pacific not much luck - satellite at 10 + times that....

    But the Apple offering is mighty attractive but more than double that here in Australia.... mine is about AU$1400 with 2 screens (US$1000)
     
  14. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,041
    Likes: 116, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1818
    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    thanks for the input guys

    i have got a lot to learn now

    but Google Earth 5 is by far the smartest toy in my library now - the possibilities are endless with all the other downloads

    for us in a 3rd world country this is like heaven

    we battle to get paper charts
    if you wanted to leave now you could wait a month or two for a paper chart to Mauritius and it would cost an arm and a leg - even second hand is a *****

    with our weak currency electronic charts are simply out of the question

    so yeah this kind of thing is like a gift from heaven when you are not in the civilised world :D
     

  15. Guest62110524

    Guest62110524 Previous Member

    manie my dear chap dontcha read wot I said ? google earth positions are well out,
    stu
     
Loading...
Similar Threads
  1. Jdawg
    Replies:
    9
    Views:
    1,616
  2. DennisRB
    Replies:
    12
    Views:
    2,971
  3. Nick.K
    Replies:
    10
    Views:
    2,042
  4. RayThackeray
    Replies:
    46
    Views:
    7,904
  5. TerryKing
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    2,204
  6. TerryKing
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    1,405
  7. TerryKing
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    1,585
  8. TerryKing
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    3,467
  9. TerryKing
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    2,432
  10. TerryKing
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    2,380
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.